Rihanna’s seemingly innocent Instagram picture has led to the arrest of two people in Thailand. The Grammy Award-winning songstress was in the Southeast Asian country at the weekend when she took a selfie with a protected species, unwittingly giving Thai authorities evidence against peddlers.
“Look who was talkin dirty to me!” Rihanna captioned her photo, which she posted on Saturday.
Little did she know that her photo led to the arrest of two individuals, a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old teenager, for possession of protected animals, which is illegal in the country.
“Phuket authorities were alerted to the picture (of Rihanna), and last night police arrested the two individuals who brought out the loris as a photo opportunity for tourishs,” Phuket district chief Veera Kerdsirimongkon told the Associated Press by telephone on Sunday.
The police confiscated two lorises from the individuals, who could face charges with a penalty of 40,000 baht [approximately $1360] fine and up to four years imprisonment.
In popular tourist areas in Thailand, people usually pay to pose for pictures with local animals, such as elephants and orang-utans. There are times, though, that vendors also either illegally possess or trade protected species.
“It’s like a cat-and-mouse game. But this time it’s bigger because a celebrity like Rihanna posted the picture, and there were more than 200,000 ‘likes’ from around the world,” Mr Weera continued to AP, explaining that authorities have been trying to crack down wildlife exploitation by vendors for years.
Rihanna is currently in Australia to perform for her world tour. She will be at the Perth Arena on September 24, at the Entertainment Centre in Adelaide on 26, in Brisbane on 28, in Melbourne on September 30 and October 1, and in Sydney on October 3 and 4.
She will then fly to New Zealand to perform at the Vector Arena in Auckland on October 6, 7, and 8.
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